Reacting to the deaths of over 100 children in Bihar due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), the Congress on Wednesday described it as a “national tragedy” and called the Centre and state government as insensitive and unprepared.
A coordination between the Centre and the state government to deal with AES was also demanded by the party.
Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in New Delhi, Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi said, “What is happening today in Bihar is a national tragedy and national horror as over 150 children have died. The perpetrators of this tragedy is the state and the Central government.”
“Despite the fact that the tragedy recurs in the state every year, the state government has failed to respond,” Gogoi further said.
“The state Health Minister (Mangal Pandey) has already shown his insensitivity, when during a press conference, he chose to inquire about the cricket score, though he had gone to Muzaffarpur to announce launch of an ambulance service and a 100-bed hospital,” the MP from Assam’s Kaliabor said.
“All the announcements were only on paper as no steps was taken to construct the new hospital. Yet the minister landed there to announce the same old 100-bed hospital,” Gogoi further added.
Targeting Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Gogoi said, “The Chief Minister visited Muzaffarpur after 14 days of the tragedy.”
Citing the reason for the AES, Gogoi said that reports indicate that over 150 children died due to severe malnutrition.
He said the reports coming from Bihar highlight that there was shortage of beds as well as medicines.
“The government should make a road map (to rid the state of the malaise),” Gogoi added.